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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.

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Is my pug not coping after the surgery?
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
11 September 2019
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11 September 2019 - 9:15 am
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Hello! My pug Wario had one of his rear legs amputated back at the end of March due to a stage 2 mast cell tumor. He recovered pretty quickly afterwards. Lately however, we are noticing that he is very uncomfortable. He’s slowed down a lot on our walks because he was getting tired quickly and cant get comfortable in bed either to sleep. Eventually he does give in and can sleep, but times like last night he kept fidgeting and every time i woke up he was awake. I wonder if maybe i should be compensating more for anything. I try and scratch his sides and around his ears when I’m home since he obviously cant himself anymore and that does seem to help a lot. 

I did take him to the vet recently to check up on him and was told that he needs to lose weight. He is 28 lbs, which is the same weight he was before the surgery. So I’m sure weight is causing some of the discomfort. 

Does anyone have any advise on what else I can do to make him more comfortable?smiley13

The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 27443
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25 April 2007
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11 September 2019 - 10:35 am
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Hi Wario and family, welcome. We have had so many Pugs join us through the years,like Maggie (whose mom will see your post and reply I’m sure!) so you are in great company.

It’s not uncommon for Tripawds to slow down a bit as they get used to life on three legs. We aren’t vets, but what we’ve seen here is that usually the cause is 1) that they are carrying too much weight and 2) that they are doing the same level of activity they were before surgery. And you’re probably asking “So how is Wario supposed to lose weight if he’s stuck doing less activity as a Tripwd?” right? I though so! 😉 

Well, the good news is that there are many ways you can learn how to help Wario get fit. Did your vet say anything to you about canine rehabilitation therapy? Or offer any pain relief to him in the meantime?

First, control his pain. Then, get him into rehab. Rehab is such a huge help to new Tripawds. Even if it seems like they are getting around fine, a therapist can help point out where they are weak and need to strengthen, and how you can help him do that. We feel it’s so beneficial that our Tripawds Foundation may pay for the first rehab visit ! Click on the link for more information.

Also, our Tripawds e-books have lots of helpful weight loss and exercise tips too, and if you go to our Tripawds Gear blog you’ll see lots of ideas for Tripawd exercises. But most of all we highly recommend getting Wario to a rehab therapist so that you can help him feel better and be pain-free for the rest of his life. 

Please keep us posted on how he’s doing! And we would love to see photos of your adorable boy! Here are instructions for adding images to the Forums.

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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
11 September 2019
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11 September 2019 - 12:08 pm
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Thanks for the intro. The surgeon did mention that healing times vary with different breeds. He does pant a lot even long after walks which is why i wonder if he is uncomfortable too. My partner and I work opposite shifts so someone is usually home with him, and hes sleeping fine now. I’m just concerned that when he cant get comfortable what i should be doing do help him. 


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11 September 2019 - 1:04 pm
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Yes, we do have a member here who came as a result of her “Stubvorn Pug Maggie.  She is truly an expert on everything Pug!  She’ll chime n when she sees this with great Pug insight”!

In addition. to great input Jerry gave.  a couple pf questions:

1.  To what degree did the Vet check over Wario? For example, any xrays?  Massaing up znd down his spine, his neck, etc looking  fotr any tense spots?

2.  How old is Wario?

3. Any indication of arthritis, joint issues, etc?

4.  Did the Vet suggest ANY pain meds at all?  Sounds like her could benefit  from some pain meds until this gets figured out.  He DEFINITELY  seems to be showing signs of pain with panting, restlessness, etc.

And definitely  try and get that Rehab appointment  asap.  In the meantime, you can massage up and down his spine, neck, shoulders, etc to see if he shows any tense spots.

Continue  to keep us updated, okay?


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too 

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Forum Posts: 3
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11 September 2019 - 1:12 pm
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1) No xrays. She did listen to his heart and lungs. She said they sounded very good for his age. She did look over the surgical spot which has been pretty healed by now since the surgery happened in March. The only real concern she had for him was his weight

2) Wario will be 10 in october

3) Weve never had issues with any joint pain for him in the past, but as he and another one of my pugs got older I did start buying them treats that had the glucosamine chondroitin in them

4) She didnt give him any meds. 

Livermore, CA

Forum Posts: 3881
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11 September 2019 - 2:15 pm
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Hello and welcome to you and Wario.

My Pug Maggie lost a back leg to a MCT way back in 2006.  If you are interested you can read her story and about her amp and treatment, the links are in my signature below.

Maggie was 7.5 years old at the time of surgery so was still active but not as rambunctious as she had been when she was younger.  I had no idea what to do with Mag after surgery, this site didn’t exist yet and all the vets told me was that after the 2 week post op mark she could do whatever she wanted.  Lucky for me Mag tended to the lazy side and really self regulated.  I think it took us about 6 months to work up to her walking about half the distance she could before she lost her leg, and that is as far as she could ever go.  She also did chemo for about 6 months after surgery so that slowed her down a bit too probably.  Mag was at a good weight right before and after surgery, about 17.5 pounds, so I didn’t have to worry about that.  She had weighted as much as 20 pounds in her life before I got that under control. 

I did not know about how important core strength was then.  We did play with toys and wrestle around some so I think we did work her core a little without realizing it.  I now have a Pug mix rear amp and we spend time everyday working on balance or strength through games, training and exercises.  Elly is little, about 15.5 pounds and is about 4.5 years old.  She was hit by a car at 7 months old so has been on three most all of her life.  I work hard at keeping her on the light side to keep weight off the one back leg, but it is a constant battle!  We do lots of training so I have to be careful to subtract all the calories she gets as treats from her daily intake.

Check and see how many calories are in the glucosamine chews, sometimes those ‘hidden’ calories can get you.   I’ve been trying to get weight off my 13 year old Pug boy Obie and even with being very strict with food quantity he wasn’t losing.  My dogs each get a dental treat most days that was recommended to me by Elly’s dentist.  I had to do some research but I finally found out those chews have almost 50 calories each!  That is about 20% of the calories Obie should be getting a day.  It’s hard with small dogs, 50 calories makes a huge difference.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010


              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Forum Posts: 1418
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27 July 2014
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11 September 2019 - 6:41 pm
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Welcome Wario,

I’m with your vet and the others who have replied here – weight control is very important. My cat Mona had a bit of a round belly before her front leg amputation. She was about 10 pounds, maybe a bit over. I started working on reducing her weight after the amputation by weighing her food. The recommended amount listed on the food bag tends to be too much. When it states 1 cup per day for example, that 1 cup can weigh more than the volume intended and the differences can really add up over time.

My cats don’t get treats, they get snacks which are some of their kibble weighed out in the morning. I’m sure they are not hungry when looking for a snack but really wanting attention from me. A good brushing or playtime distracts them from food.

Mona lost 2 pounds, that’s 20% of her weight and I believe is helped her. 

I really noticed a difference in Mona’s ability to move after taking her in for a few chiropractic appointments. Her hopping became smoother and more fluid.

Weight reduction can help Wario’s joints which may be aching making him uncomfortable. He may also have arthritis for which there are many supplements. Your vet can assess that for Wario.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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